A new school year is born; let's think about learning. We could think about how people learn, but there are many sources that anyone interested in teaching may access about that. Of all the schemes I studied while I was trying to help kids, I came most to trust learning by experience.
There's a debate right now about whether teaching hundreds of people through electronic means is as effective as putting students in a classroom or a lab with a good teacher. People can learn a lot about many different fields of interest by the electronic tools, but it isn't as effective in providing help as where the teacher can see what works for the individual student. Mass education surely costs less, but it may be false economy.
After choosing how best to teach, the next question is what to teach. This is the toughest.
Ken Hall was a master in London Normal School in the 1950s. Ken said to us, "No one can remember every date, name, individual battle..."
Ken taught how to teach history. He said, "Teach attitudes!"
We know to our dismay and horror that today young people are being taught attitudes that send some to kill men, women and children who do not accept this religious doctrine or that. They are taught to believe that by bombing, hacking with crude knives, stoning people to death they are pleasing their god. If they die in the line of duty they believe they will instantly be in paradise. That's the power of attitudes.
In Canada today there is agitation for a national enquiry into the reasons for failure to find the people who prey on aboriginal women. The prime minister insists this is the action of criminals and must be left to the law enforcement bodies to find and bring perpetrators to court where justice may be served. Spending millions of dollars asking questions would be money wasted. I agree with him to a certain extent. If there are dollars, and there can be if the governments really want to make life safer for potential victims, use it to hire and educate officers to strengthen the arm of the law.
The prime minister does not see this shameful situation as a sociological matter. This view reveals a need for teaching the law-makers attitudes about their roll in maintaining a safe and just society.
The judges, too, need to have effective attitudes to carry out their part in the process when police deliver the alleged criminals to court.
This is a sociological matter of the greatest importance. How we explore it makes the difference between arousing public indignation and antisocial reaction or finding effective methods of dealing with it. Poverty is cited as a prime cause of the large number of missing women and women who have been found dead. This supposes if people have money enough they will choose lifestyles that are safe. It isn't necessarily true. The shenanigans of some politicians in Canada and other lands show what wealth can provide in the way of entertainment.
If we put the blame on the victims all hell will, and should, break out. Nothing will be gained. Much will be lost.
People, usually men but women are capable of atrocity, who for whatever attitude drives them, haunt the places where victims are easiest to be found. There are similarities between the perpetrators of crime against aboriginal women and the jihadists. Both may feel their victims deserve punishment.
We do not need to create a police state to improve life in Canada. That would simply provide more places for perpetrators to infiltrate. We do need enough enforcement officers to intercept killers before they act where possible and to find them after they act and bring them to the judges.
Education is more than going to school to learn how to grow an economy. Families, service clubs, youth movements such as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, all contribute to Ken Hall's commandment, "Teach attitudes!"